Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is a not-for-profit organization that combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help community-based organizations revitalize under-served neighborhoods throughout the United States.
1980 LISC is formally announced on May 23, funded by $10 million from the Ford Foundation and six major corporate donors and lenders. Mike Sviridoff is LISC’s first President.
1982 LISC establishes its first local “areas of concentration” in the South Bronx, Boston and Chicago, based on matching contributions from the private sector. Today, LISC operates in 30 urban areas and in rural areas in 36 states.
1984 With the opening of its California program, LISC begins to operate a truly coast-to-coast nationwide program.
1985 Paul S. Grogan succeeds Mike Sviridoff as LISC’s President.
1986 Boston LISC organizes a Neighborhood Development Support Collaborative, the first such local operating support fund for CDCs. This model has since been replicated in 22 cities across the country.
1987 Using the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit, LISC creates the National Equity Fund (NEF) with a total capitalization of $15 million; over the next 18 years, NEF invests more than $5 billion to create more than 75,000 affordable rental homes and apartments.
1988 In partnership with the City of New York, LISC and 10 CDCs begin a massive citywide housing renovation program with the goal of creating 1,000 affordable apartments. Today, more than 20,000 apartments have been produced.
1989 The first national census of CDCs, by the National Congress for Community Economic Development (NCCED), identifies approximately 1,500 CDCs nationwide—a more than sevenfold increase over national estimates in the mid-1970s.
1990 LISC expands to 26 geographic program areas, supporting close to 800 CDCs.
1991 Fifteen foundations and corporations form the National Community Development Initiative (now Living Cities). It is the largest philanthropic collaborative in history, investing $543 million in community development corporations and intermediaries over the next 14 years.
1994 LISC’s new strategic plan calls for the “build-out” of the community development industry nationwide. LISC dedicates technical, financial, and organizational resources to new areas of community development including child care, community safety, organizational development and commercial revitalization.
1995 Rural LISC is formed, aiming to demonstrate the value of investing in and through rural CDCs. In twelve years it has provided Partner CDCs with close to $593 million, helping them develop 16,568 affordable homes, over two million square feet of commercial, industrial and community facilities and assist 336 small businesses.
1997 Together with the National Football League Youth Football Fund, LISC starts the NFL Grassroots Program, an initiative to create safe and accessible playing fields in urban neighborhoods. Today, LISC has supported more than 150 fields through the NFL partnership.
1998 Spearheaded by Rural LISC, a national coalition of 750 organizations launches Stand Up for Rural America, a campaign to help rural CDCs gain the attention, resources and policy support their work deserves.
1999 Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin becomes Chairman of LISC’s Board of Directors, and Michael Rubinger succeeds Paul S. Grogan as President.
2000 LISC provides start-up capital for the Community Development Trust, the nation’s first real estate investment trust created solely for the purpose of acquiring community development assets.
2001 State Farm Insurance Companies provides LISC with $25 million in grants and loans, the largest single corporate commitment in LISC’s history, to support CDCs’ growing commercial and retail activity.
2002 Supported by the Walton Family Foundation, LISC launches the Educational Facilities Financing Center (EFFC) to finance the building of charter school facilities in low-income communities. To date, LISC has approved approximately $43 million in loans or grants to 47 individual schools for their facilities needs and an additional $31 million in financing for ten local facilities funds projected to provide $290 million in facilities financing for charter schools, making LISC one of the largest providers of facility financing in the sector.
2003 LISC starts a new affiliate—the New Markets Support Company—to invest New Markets Tax Credits in commercial projects such as retail storefronts, industrial and manufacturing buildings, and artist space. To date, LISC has received $428 million in investment authority and has invested in thirty projects around the country.
2004 LISC has its strongest year ever with over $720 million in grants, loans and equity invested in CDCs and community projects.
2006 LISC begins implementation of its new Strategic Plan — Building Sustainable Communities — to create neighborhoods that are good places to live, do business, work and raise families. LISC establishes a new commercial markets advisory service to spur retail and commercial activity. LISC also establishes the Gulf Region Rebuilding Initiative to aid in the redevelopment of the hurricane-devastated Gulf Coast. LISC reaches $1 billion in low-income community investment.
2007 LISC establishes a new program to support family income and wealth, centered around Centers for Working Families. LISC reaches $1.06 billion in neighborhood investment, its second consecutive billion-dollar investment year.
Phyllis Caldwell – President, Washington Area Women's Foundation
Barbara Cowden – Executive Vice President, State Farm
Larry H. Dale – Chairman, The National Equity Fund, Inc.
William M. Daley – Vice Chairman & Chairman of the Midwest Region, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
John G. Finneran – Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Capital One Financial Corporation
Pamela P. Flaherty – Director of Corporate Citizenship, Citi, President & CEO, Citi Foundation
Roger Goodell – Commissioner, National Football League
Colvin W. Grannum – President, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
Antonia Hernandez – President, California Community Foundation
Valerie Jarrett – President & CEO, The Habitat Company
Kevin Johnson – Chief Executive Officer, St. Hope Public Schools
Linda K. Knight – Executive Vice President of Enterprise Operations, Fannie Mae
Lynette Lee – Executive Director, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation
Bill Longbrake – Vice Chair, Washington Mutual
Philip D. Murphy – Principal, Murphy Endeavors, LLC
Ronald Phillips – President, Coastal Enterprises
Andrew Plepler – President, Bank of America Foundation
Rey Ramsey – Chief Executive Officer, One Economy Corporation
Don Randel – President, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Richard “Rip” Rapson – President & CEO, The Kresge Foundation
Michael Rubinger – President & CEO, Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Arthur Ryan – Chairman, President & CEO, Prudential Financial Inc.
Paul Tagliabue – Former Commissioner, National Football League
George H. Walker – Managing Director, Lehman Brothers
Seth H. Waugh – Chief Executive Officer, Deutsche Bank Americas
Greater Newark & Jersey City, NJ
New York, NY
Baton Rouge – Gulf Region Rebuilding Initiative
Los Angeles, CA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Impact Capital/Washington State
Providing housing at rents that lower-income people can afford is not just an act of public generosity. It is an economic and physical development strategy and an important part of overall public policy for most kinds of communities. Affordable housing serves a number of public purposes:
By providing access to best practices, information, and training, LISC has helped connect these worlds to develop creative and collaborative solutions to local problems. HARC teams with local LISC offices and the National Equity Fund (NEF) to build the development capacity of local housing authorities that are considering public housing redevelopment, new housing development, and commercial revitalization and identifies financing and partnership structures that will leverage public resources with private investment. HARC also promotes the effective use of asset-building resources such as Section 8 Homeownership and the Family Self Sufficiency program.
As a key component of VPI, LISC provides technical assistance to communities across the country to help them address legal, organizational, and information challenges. In collaboration with the National Vacant Properties Campaign, LISC has worked in over 20 cities to help policy makers, builders, government officials, nonprofits, and residents to turn vacant properties into vehicles for positive change. Typically, VPI teams up national experts on issues such as tax foreclosure, land bank authorities, zoning and code enforcement, and property information systems to help diagnose problems and identify workable solutions tailored to the local context. VPI offers a variety of resources—including referrals to knowledgeable experts, opportunities to exchange information with practitioners and experts via web training sessions and conference calls, basic research, and direct fee-for-service technical assistance.
In New Orleans, Louisiana, VPI and LISC’s Gulf Rebuilding Initiative have teamed up with the National Vacant Properties Campaign to create and staff the New Orleans Vacant Properties Initiative. This initiative provides ongoing technical assistance and coordination to the City of New Orleans, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, nonprofits, and other community groups to assist them in creating effective systems for acquiring and disposing of the thousands of vacant properties left in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
LISC co-founded the National Vacant Properties Campaign in 2003 with Smart Growth America, the International City/County Management Association, and oversees the Campaign along with Smart Growth America, Virginia Tech, and the Genesee Institute. With support from the FannieMae Foundation, the US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Housing and Urban Development, the C.S. Mott Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, the Greater Orleans Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation, the Campaign is working to elevate the issue of vacant properties among policy makers, and build the national knowledge base on this topic by developing a national network of vacant property practitioners and experts via annual forums, workshops, and list serves. VPI also provides policy tools, research, and information resources that are accessible through the Campaign’s website (www.vacantproperties.org) and offering direct technical assistance to specific localities.
Commercial corridors are the economic pulse of vibrant, exciting neighborhoods. They also provide opportunities for wealth creation through new business opportunities, jobs for local residents, and in the best case scenario, places where healthy affordable food and services can be purchased. CMAS strives to provide communities with the guidance, tools and resources to ensure that their neighborhoods are places where residents feel safe to work, shop, and interact with each other. Their areas of expertise include:
LISC is a pioneer in the development and use of New Markets Tax Credits to stimulate private capital investment in communities with high levels of economic distress and transform them into good places to work, do business and raise children. A pioneer in the creation and use of this new federal program, LISC has focused its efforts on financing the development of commercial and community space and housing that generate jobs, provide needed goods and services, and reverse physical deterioration in struggling communities.
100% of our transactions involve real estate development in communities that meet the CDFI Fund’s criteria for “High Distress.” In these areas, perceptions of higher risk translate into prohibitively high costs of capital and/or inadequate financing. LISC uses NMTCs to solve these financing problems and provide a timely and financially viable way for communities to realize the benefits of a given project. Within LISC's focus area, transactions can take on a variety of shapes and sizes to ensure that they address specific community needs, align with on-going initiatives, and stimulate wider economic revitalization. This flexibility has yielded projects ranging from shopping centers, to arts-related facilities, incubator space for local entrepreneurs, charter schools, day care centers, and other community facilities. LISC's national network of community developers and our strong relationships with engaged investors provide a constant flow of new projects and ready capital that allows us to maintain an extensive project pipeline. Likewise, our deep community development and tax-credit financing expertise allow us to deliver high quality acquisition and asset management services. These capacities build confidence and ensure the efficient and effective deployment of our Investor Partners’ high-impact capital.
The National Equity Fund, Inc. (NEF) manages LISC’s NMTC Program. NEF is LISC’s tax-credit equity affiliate and has invested more than $5.5 billion in low income communities over the past twenty years.
Conventional retail market assessment tools rely on off-the-shelf national data sources that can be analyzed quickly and presented to chain retailers operating primarily in higher-income and homogeneous suburban markets. Unlike traditional methods, LME relies on national and local sources of data to develop powerful new metrics of retail market potential customized to specific neighborhoods. Through hands-on work with community groups, local governments and other stakeholders, results are used to describe the marketplace, educate stakeholders, highlight pre-requisites for development, and steer scarce resources in the most productive directions.
Formerly a subsidiary of Shorebank Corporation of Chicago, MetroEdge became part of LISC in early 2006 through support provided by the MacArthur Foundation.
CICK specializes in crafting statewide programs that address the capital and technical assistance needs of the child care industry, and has raised over $8 million in public and private funding to launch two statewide child care facilities lending funds in Connecticut and Rhode Island that offer a comprehensive package of resource and services for the renovation and construction of facilities. CICK plays a leadership role in the National Children’s Facilities Network, a 25-member coalition of nonprofit organizations involved in facilities financing and development. The network provides a critical forum for sharing successful strategies and lessons learned, as well as promoting legislation to support more public investment in quality child care facilities in low-income neighborhoods.
LISC supports quality public charter and alternative schools in low-income neighborhoods by providing on-the-ground assistance to individual charter schools through LISC’s network of 30 local offices and by developing educational funds that finance multiple school projects in specific markets through its Educational Facilities Financing Center. Since making its first charter school loan in 1997, LISC has approved approximately $43 million in loans or grants to 47 individual schools for their facilities needs and an additional $31 million in financing for ten local facilities funds projected to provide $290 million in facilities financing for charter schools, making LISC one of the largest providers of facility financing in the sector.
EFFC pools low-interest loan funds and leverages them for investment in local educational facilities funds that help finance new or renovated facilities for multiple schools in a single geographic market or nonprofit charter management organization. LISC has raised $60 million for this effort, with primary support from the Walton Family Foundation (WFF), Prudential Financial and the U.S. Department of Education’s Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program. EFFC has used these funds to create a $35 million Education Loan Fund and an $11 million Credit Enhancement Fund which it has invested in ten local funds to date, including funds in California, Indiana, Massachusetts, upstate New York, and Southwestern Pennsylvania as well as several nonprofit charter networks, including the national network of KIPP schools.
To achieve long-term sustainability, permanent financing mechanisms that provide charter schools with consistent funding streams and increased access to public facility financing must eventually be implemented. EFFC is identifying replicable financing mechanisms, providing consulting to charter support organizations and sharing best practices within the sector. With grant funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the WFF and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, EFFC has published three studies that examine charter school facility financing: “ The Finance Gap: Charter Schools and their Facilities” (2004), “ The Charter School Facility Finance Landscape” (2005) and “ The 2007 Charter School Facility Finance Landscape” (2007).
As the largest organization supporting community development in our nation’s urban and rural communities, LISC believes that greener buildings are key components in achieving sustainable communities of choice and opportunity – good places to work, do business and raise children.
Energy-efficient and resource-efficient buildings with healthier indoor air:
Using grants received by LISC, the Center has channeled resources to advance LISC’s local green development support work.
Partners include: Global Green, USA, New Ecology, Inc., Southface, Energy Institute, and Earthpledge.
Finding the most promising sites and sponsors, helping to assemble effective partnerships and funding sources, and equipping community organizations to shoulder the long-term responsibility for field management are among the many critical services that LISC provides in the Grassroots Program. The following teams have helped restore fields in the communities where they play: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, and Washington Redskins. The NFL also supports youth recreation in Los Angeles.
Partners: Corporation for National and Community Service; Bank of America; Bronson Healthcare; Irving S. Gilmore Foundation; John Hancock Financial Services, Inc.; Living Cities; State Farm Insurance Companies
LISC’s locally driven and partnership-based approach to policy attracts support from both ends of the political spectrum. Rural and urban policy makers alike recognize LISC’s well-documented success in building communities while leveraging substantial private capital. Additionally, LISC’s holistic approach to building communities attracts policy allies from the from business, social service, education, environmental, and community development sectors.
Communities are the place where the principles of smart growth play out, and CDC work is the embodiment of smart growth through its success at building and preserving mixed and low income housing, reinvestment in neighborhood schools, revitalization of commercial and retail corridors, reuse of brownfields and vacant properties, enhancement of transit options, rebuilding of green space and recreational facilities, and environmentally-sustainable construction.
Just as LISC’s unique links between the private, government, and nonprofit sectors have leveraged significant public/private resources for community revitalization, so our links at the national and local levels build bridges between regional and smart growth players and neighborhoods. LISC espouses the importance of existing communities to the economic and social futures of metropolitan areas and we provide an entry to a vast network of community players. Partnerships with several Federal Reserve Banks, for example, have provided forums for national, regional, and local players to consider the economic and social benefits of whole neighborhoods as part of successful regions.